Why the BRICS like Africa
There is little doubt that the BRICs — Brazil, Russia, India and China — have become big players in Africa. According to Standard Bank of South Africa, BRIC trade with the continent has snowballed from just $16 billion in 2000 to $157 billion last year. That is a 33 percent compounded annual growth rate.
What is behind this? At one level, the BRICs, as they grow, are clearly recognising commercial and strategic opportunities in Africa. But Standard Bank reckons other, more individual, drivers are also at play.
– Brazil’s immediate intererest in Africa is securing access to natural resources, particularly oil. But is also motivated by a desire to create a new “Southern Axis” with itself at the forefront.
– Russia is also interested in Africa’s natural resources. But it faces a problem because of the sullied reputation of the Soviet Union during the Cold War. So Moscow has also embarked on a rebranding programme within the continent by ramping up its aid programmes.
– India is attracted to Africa in part because of long historic ties. Commercial engagement, however, is also motivated by a need to guarantee the natural resources it needs for its own growth. Furthermore Africa is seen politically as a key ally in the pursuit of a competitive advantage over its Asian competitor China.
– For China, Africa provides a long-term partner in its ongoing bid to gain global economic ascendancy, providing it with the resources, markets, geopolitical support, and, eventually, food and social security in the form of a growing and engaging diaspora.
A full copy of Standard Bank’s report, which was written by Simon Freemantle and Jeremy Stevens, can be found here.
(Photo: Jeremy Gaunt)